Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Day Three: Chicken!

Today was the most enjoyable and hard working days I’ve had here. I really wanted to make sure I got some experience with the chickens so I asked if I could help the guy do it this morning. Usually he does it himself so even though I was terrible I hope that I made it a little easier for him. 8:30AM start. Today, like an idiot, I had eggs for breakfast. I don’t know I was really feeling the chicken thing. But then I also had oatmeal because I want to make sure I keep up the ridiculousness that is gaining weight after 5 days on a farm.
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So up and at ‘em! I made the 20min walk up to the coop on the other side of the farm and met up with the guy who does the chickens. But was first greeted by these cuties.
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Who is happier than them?
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Egg man speaks even less English so I got even less direction for this than I usually do for a task. We took a plastic crate, cardboard egg crates and a basket into a coop. He took one of the hens out of her space and picked out the eggs underneath her. Seemed easy as pie. Then he left me to my own devices. Eep.
When I gave it a go to grab some eggs, the hens did not want to be bothered. I did not have enough guts, gloves or health insurance to try to be a hero so I backed off.
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Instead I looked for unattended eggs sitting pretty in their little hay nests still warm (which I understand may sound gross, but it made me feel connected to the process even more)
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“Back off, lady!” Is what I imagined them saying. I started pleading with the hens and asking the to just take a nice little walk and that I would watch their eggs for them. They were not responsive.
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The cock of the walk! When the rooster would crow the hens would let out this purring sound. It was so bizarre. I was actually afraid of the rooster and would walk way out of the way not to cross his path. I don’t know his deal so I avoided interaction at all cost.
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It was a slow start. I arrived to the coop around 8:30 and this was probably 9AM (muy mal)
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My first dozen!
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The egg man came into the coop I was in eventually (I assume because I was in there for way too long talking to the hens) to help me get the rest and then showed me another coop that was much easier to access the eggs.
And now we’re cookin’Farm Day Three 024
The “to be washed” eggsFarm Day Three 025
This was the next coop and where my pleading went to panic when I found myself surrounded by chickens or being chased by chickens or being pecked at because I had one little tiny piece of shiny metal on my boots
But come on, does this not say, “I will wreck you!”?
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Looking at this now, ok, maybe they don’t look like their planning an attack on me, but I swear this was prime panic time when I thought how easily they could get me to run away by ganging up and flying at me. Chickens are scary.
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This was totally weird. The hens would surround the rooster and peck at him, maybe cleaning him?
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Pretty little eggs. This was my morning. 3 hours of pleading, sweating and gathering with the hens. At one point a hen pecked at my egg cart and three eggs crashed onto the ground. They all scrambled (ha) towards it to eat it. Farm Day Three 032
I think I’ve mentioned this before, but for lunch the staff rotates on who cooks meaning all I have to do is go back at noon and find lunch waiting for me. After the coop from 9-12 I headed back to the house, but since today most were at their CSA drop offs I was on my own. I fried (yep) some left over couscous, zucchini, garlic scapes and bunching onions that were on the table. All from the farm. Dash of hot sauce and black pepper. It was delicious.
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I guess you can’t see much here, but it was dumping rain after lunch. I felt like a real farmer leaving the house in my tank top, boots and hat on knowing I was going to be working in the rain for a few hours because that’s just what needs to happen. There’s something about stepping into the rain instead of running through or trying to stay covered that felt badass. Farm Day Three 037
From 1PM to 4:30PM I helped transport pots from the dirt filler to the rows. I will have pictures to come back and put in tomorrow. I didn’t want to risk bringing my camera today and having it get soaked in my pocket. It felt great to be outside in the rain getting soaked and working hard.
Here are the mum pots we laid down.
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After filling them in the flat filler and then onto carts to drag up and down
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We must have gone up and down this row 20 times each with carts holding 16 or so pots to lay. The rain felt good here.
Farm Day Four 029 From 4:30-6PM I seeded broccoli and butternut squash. Again, pictures to put back in later.
I wish I had a better picture of how dirty I was today, but this will have to do
The damp part on those jeans are from sweat.
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Today was easily the best day I’ve had. I was dirty, sweaty and tired, exactly how I wanted this experience to go. Tomorrow we wake at 7:30AM for yoga at the market place.
Homework and bed!

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